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J Biomech. 1991;24(10):969-77.

On the estimation of joint kinematics during gait.

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Orthopaedic Engineering Research Center, Helen Hayes Hospital, W. Haverstraw, NY 10993.


In gait analysis, the concepts of Euler and helical (screw) angles are used to define the three-dimensional relative joint angular motion of lower extremities. Reliable estimation of joint angular motion depends on the accurate definition and construction of embedded axes within each body segment. In this paper, using sensitivity analysis, we quantify the effects of uncertainties in the definition and construction of embedded axes on the estimation of joint angular motion during gait. Using representative hip and knee motion data from normal subjects and cerebral palsy patients, the flexion-extension axis is analytically perturbed +/- 15 degrees in 5 degrees steps from a reference position, and the joint angles are recomputed for both Euler and helical angle definitions. For the Euler model, hip and knee flexion angles are relatively unaffected while the ab/adduction and rotation angles are significantly affected throughout the gait cycle. An error of 15 degrees in the definition of flexion-extension axis gives rise to maximum errors of 8 and 12 degrees for the ab/adduction angle, and 10-15 degrees for the rotation angles at the hip and knee, respectively. Furthermore, the magnitude of errors in ab/adduction and rotation angles are a function of the flexion angle. The errors for the ab/adduction angles increase with increasing flexion angle and for the rotation angle, decrease with increasing flexion angle. In cerebral palsy patients with flexed knee pattern of gait, this will result in distorted estimation of ab/adduction and rotation. For the helical model, similar results are obtained for the helical angle and associated direction cosines.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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